Showing posts with label sci-fi. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sci-fi. Show all posts

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Halloween Watch: Critters (1986)

Back in the 1980's, I remember seeing a lot of movies like Critters (1986) on the shelf at the local home video rental shoppe.  The boxes would show you a goblin sort of creature, and promised a certain level of horror that wasn't necessarily going to go in for splatter and gore of a Chainsaw variety or even a Freddy Kreuger level of scare.  Maybe some broad humor in there, plots as basic as a Dukes of Hazzard episode.  It was always maybe a little gorier than a modern PG-13 film, but, in retrospect, there's no question that these movies were basically aimed at kids with VCR's.

There's nothing wrong with it, but I wasn't a fan of the sub-sub-genre.

I don't think I was exactly aware the movie was aimed at me as a 12 year-old-or-so as I was when I saw this movie the first time at someone else's house.  My recollection is that the kid was very excited about the movie Critters, and his dad showed up with the movie in hand "hey, I rented CRITTERS!" and I was like "y'okay..." whereas my pal couldn't have been more jazzed had we just been given a stack of fireworks to shoot off all night.  He loved the movie, and I just settled in, because... what are you gonna do?  So, I've seen it once before.

Point of fact - Jamie and I have been together 21 years this month, and I can't tell you how many times she's mentioned liking Critters as a kid.  Or, I guess, watching Critters as a kid.

And so it came to pass that when I said "well, we need to watch something Halloween-ish", she tossed out Critters, and as she has never, ever previously stated a desire to watch any Halloween movie but Young Frankenstein, I just said "y'okay..."

So, we watched Critters.

Monday, October 10, 2016

I Don't Get It Watch: Back to the Future (1985)

I remember coming back to school after the summer of 1985 and a good chunk of my classmates were nuts over Back to the Future (1985).  I'd seen it in the theater, but even of our own family, I think I liked it the least of the four of us.  But I was a little surprised how much my peers liked the movie, and over the past ten years I've been even more surprised to find how much not just my own generation still celebrates the entire trilogy, but Millenials love the movies, too.

I won't say I didn't watch it over and over in the 1980's when it was on VHS or on cable.  I've seen it at least 6 or 7 times.  But it's been a long, long while.

The movie was on cable last weekend, and I gave it a spin for the first time in a long time, more or less to figure out what I'm missing when I watch the movie that everyone else is seeing.  I want to make it clear:  this is my deficiency, not anything I think all of you people are stupid for liking.  As near as I can tell, there really isn't anything wrong with the movie.  And Lea Thompson's many, many iterations of Lorraine over the trilogy - heck, within just this first movie - is pretty impressive.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Signal Watch Reads: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (Philip K. Dick, 1968, audiobook)

The last time I read Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, I was about 15 and had a fairly hard time keeping up with a narrative that wasn't an easily digestible Isaac Asimov plot and which didn't work with a Bradbury-esque flow to carry me over the rough patches.  I didn't know anything about Philip K. Dick other than that he was the name of the guy who wrote the book upon which they'd based Blade Runner, at the time one my new favorite movies (and, of course, still a favorite).  But, I had heard the novel and movie were different.

I really don't know why I decided it was time to read the book again other than that, like most books I read 25+ years ago, my memories of the details were fuzzy.  I mostly remembered feeling that - as screwed as the Rick Deckard of the film had been, the Deckard of DADoES? was in a far more precarious state.  I recalled a "fake" police station, Roy Batty seemed less a threat, and the world of the novel existed in a state of decay that went well beyond even the night-time drizzling menace of the film.

It's not that I had a hard time understanding the story from an A to B to C to D perspective, but Dick's books always seem to be doing what science-fiction can do intensely well, and that's act as allegory for some more universal story or truth or as a thought experiment to explore those ideas.  I'm sure I got it in that "I read what was on the page" sort of way, but there was no way for me to really relate.  Add in my trouble reconciling the differences between the book and movie and expecting the themes and plot to better dovetail, and it was a recipe for forgetting a lot of what was interesting or special about the book as repeated Blade Runner viewings had quashed a lot of what I might have remembered.

Upon a re-read, I'd argue you need to see the two narratives as separate and attempting different stories with different meaning.  There are certainly resonant thematic issues, but in making many of the changes Ridley Scott and Co. went with, Blade Runner is far more a product of expectations of films (no matter which cut we're discussing), of roles within films, and the limited running time of a movie and what can be in that story.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Seattle VayCay - Star Trek, Sci-Fi, Horror, Fantasy and more at the EMP


We're in Seattle for a week of vacation.  We've seen the Space Needle, Pike's Place and a few other things as we caught up with old friends who've relocated to the area.

Today it was just me and Jamie, and he headed down to the EMP.

The EMP is a museum that was set up by Microsoft billionaire Paul Allen and was originally going to be all about music.  Well, half of the museum is - and we went to that, but this isn't a music blog and it's weird to take pictures of certain kinds of exhibits or art.  But the EMP is now also home to Paul Allen's other collections, I guess.

Above, you see me freaking the hell out about the Gorn costume from the Star Trek episode Arena, the episode that first piqued my interest in Trek as a kid and - in my humble opinion - one of the finest hours of television ever produced.

But, I was basically just freaking the hell out through the whole museum as it was truly an amazing spectacle of genre movie and TV props and FX items.

You can view my stash of photos here.

This is exactly the sort of stuff I'd wind up owning if I had billions of dollars

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Faux-80's Watch: Stranger Things (Season 1, 2016)

There's an argument to be made that Stranger Things, 2016 (8 episodes, Season 1 on Netflix) is a rip off and riff on popular and cult media of the 1980's and that we should be suspicious of it's desire to emulate the stylings, feel and sensibilities of the era.  The show trades in nostalgia for Gen-X'ers (and likely Millennials, whom, it seems, grew up on the media of Gen-X), from font type to musical selection to references to kid culture of the time to conspicuously placed posters of influential films of the era.*

That it does these things is unquestionable - this is not convergent evolution.  But with 1983 (the year the story takes place) now 30-odd years in the rear-view mirror, it's also a period piece (I'll just let that sink in, 40-somethings.) just as much as Grease was in the late 70's, or 90% of the output of Martin Scorsese.  That the Duffer Brothers, show runners who wrote and directed a huge portion of the 8 episodes, chose this period to mine is not a huge surprise.  We're still working our way through Star Wars sequels and Ghostbusters relaunches.  We can casually drop an E.T. or Poltergeist reference and expect to be understood.  In perhaps more self-selective circles, we can do same with The Thing or Evil Dead.

Anyway, something happened in the 1980's that was not entirely of the era, but it showed up like an open wound in our media of the era in a way that movies have forgotten how to do.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Trek Watch: Star Trek Beyond (2016)

No big secret to anyone with whom I talk Star Trek, but I hated Star Trek: Into Darkness.  That's not a term I use lightly.  Generally, I "didn't like" a movie, it "wasn't aimed at me", "wasn't my cup of tea" or I might have believed "it sucked".  But, nope, I hated Into Darkness.

The movie, which could and should have been about the launch of the Enterprise and establishing the universe around the characters set up in the first movie (which, in many ways, was a glorified version of Space Camp), didn't just feel like a betrayal to the spirit and (pardon the pun) enterprise of the Star Trek universe I've enjoyed as both an avid enthusiast and sometimes occasional fan, depending on which incarnation of Trek we're discussing.  Into Darkness felt like it was picking the bones of a better, much-loved franchise to tell a lousy story and try to steal some of the gravitas along the way rather than creating anything of its own or lending anything new and not doing anything compelling with what bit of novelty it did contain.

With this third installment, Paramount does a yeoman's job of righting the ship and getting it back on course.  I won't try to oversell the movie - it's far from a perfect film (but name the Citizen Kane of Star Trek movies, I dare you), but for the first time in three movies, it feels like Trek.  And, man, that is actually terribly important.  Not only does this installment understand the universe of Trek better than its forebears, it does that thing of spiffying it up and adds some new bits along the way.

I hadn't actually planned to see the movie.  The first trailer I saw alongside The Force Awakens was so cringe-inducing and tone deaf (and, as it turns out, a bad representation of the actual film), that I just laughed it off and decided I'd get back to Star Trek at some other point with some other relaunch after the public wrote off this series for good.

The Star Trek reboot, in my opinion, was a failure.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Video for "Closer Than We Think" doc

Closer Than We Think from Clindar on Vimeo.

I was sent this video by pal-Andrew (Jamie's brother's wife's brother), and now I totally want to see this video. It's a documentary being made about Arthur Radebaugh and his sci-fi futurist strip, "Closer Than We Think". This hits so many positive buttons, I sincerely hope this film is made and gets a release.

For more on Radebaugh

The official website
Indiegogo site

a blogspot site
From the Ohio State Library
Paleofuture at Gizmodo

Saturday, July 9, 2016

MST3K Watch: Bride of the Monster (1955) (MST3K episode 1993)

I've seen this movie a few times thanks to the power of MST3K.  And if you're ever curious to see one of the movies covered in the Tim Burton film Ed Wood, I strongly recommend this one.

But I am not spending time writing up this movie.  We all have lives.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Robo-Watch: Westworld (1973)

It had been some time since I'd watched the 1973 sci-fi classic, Westworld.  I'd rented it with Jason some time back in the late 80's, and I think we both really liked it (but, if memory serves, he'd seen it before).    I've only seen it again once in college somewhere along the line, enjoyed it, but not watched it again anytime in the last 16 years at least.  I've tried to watch the sequel, Futureworld, but just couldn't watch the 1976 film.  Something about the pacing lost me the one time I tried to give it a whirl.

It seems HBO is launching a TV series also titled Westworld which will greatly expand on the ideas presented in the movie.  It's got an all-star cast and looks to be the sort of thing I find interesting in science fiction.*  I'll be checking it out, certainly, and have high hopes.  Anyway, it got me fired up to review the original film once again.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Signal Watch Reads: Old Green World (2015, by Jason Dewey Craft)

Full disclosure:  this novel was written by a buddy, and I was predisposed to like it for that reason.  I read about 100 pages of the first release of the book in PDF, then purchased the first self-printed run of the book - started that, and then Jason alerted folks that he'd actually landed a publisher, and to hang on a minute.  So, with my third copy of the book, I started over (again) and just wrapped the book Sunday afternoon.*

Old Green World (2015) is the first novel from Jason Dewey Craft, and it's a curious mix of science-fiction and fantasy, though it's unclear where or if the reader should bother to draw a line between the two genres.  It plays off of villages and castles while taking place in a future far removed from our own present day, a post-post-apocalyptic world on an Earth returned to something closer to a state of nature or without deep impact by humanity (depending how you mean).

I'm not much of a sci-fi reader, but part of why I abandoned the genre and had a hard time picking up sci-fi and fantasy was the weirdly patterned and mannered approach to sci-fi and fantasy writing, an overly descriptive method of world building and character which seems more in love with thinking up gadgets and whatnot and less with a reason for telling the story.  The tack can lead to a lack of narrative novelty as writers happily cut from the same few templates, the fandom and limited approach of authors showing through in the execution.

From the first pages, Old Green World seems to co-opt and then transform the conventions of the fantasy building, creating an understandable world despite economical detail in the prose, never bothering to fall into the trap of purple exposition, but, rather, simply describing location, character, scene, etc.. where necessary.  Much is left for the reader to imagine, to parse, to fill in the gaps.  The approach leaves the text subject to interpretation, of course, and many of the ideas that drive the conceit of the story rely on abstraction.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Aliens Watch: Aliens (1986) - Director's Cut

It's been a long, long time since I'd watched the Director's Cut of Aliens (1986).  In fact, when I put in my DVD - one of the first DVD's I ever purchased back in The Gay 90's* - I was genuinely surprised to find this was the cut of the film that had been collecting dust on my shelf for...  a while.

It's not that I haven't seen Aliens during that time.  I know I've seen it at least once at the Paramount (with Simon), and it seems like I've seen it at The Alamo in the last decade, so the need to give my disk a spin has not been extraordinarily high, I guess.  It seems like I've watched it at least in parts on cable.

Before the directors cut came out, I had a pretty good idea of what might be in it as I'd read the novelization of the movie back in middle school, and, indeed, meeting Newt's family is in there, but the domestic scene of the novel doesn't play out the same way in the movie - leaving you without that pain point of "here is who we lost".

Frankly, I think the final cut works better than the Director's Cut.  That family that's lost works out better as whatever your imagination conjures rather than a fairly forgettable bunch of folks from central casting.  The themes of motherhood and protecting your brood are crammed down your throat a bit less in the theatrical cut, that product feeling more organic, and the theatrical cut just feels stripped down and sleeker.  Seeing the colony with the same eyes as the Colonial Marines - an unknown place that was filled with unknown people, and something awful clearly happened here - just works better for me than seeing what happened before.  And makes the Aliens, in their way, all that more scary.

But, whatever, that's just my take.  As per the movie, if you've seen it, you have your opinions.  If you haven't seen it and you're over the age of, oh, 13... get on it.

*that's what I'm calling it.  The 1890's don't get all the fun.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Alien Day Watch: Alien (1979)

It had been some time since I'd seen Alien, and I had never seen it on the big screen.  The Alamo Drafthouse was doing double-bills of Alien and Aliens, and then Alien3 and Alien Resurrection.  I showed up for the double-bill, but I've been exhausted all week, and when SimonUK, my movie buddy, announced he'd seen the two movies on 4/26, I felt like I had an out.  So, we watched Alien, grabbed a pint at the bar after skipping out on movie #2, and then I went home for 40 winks.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Happy Aliens Day!

So, we're really doing this, huh?

It seems we're gonna now have a sci-fi holiday every few months, this latest being 4/26, in honor of the planet LV-426, where the Norstromo set down in Ridley Scott's sci-fi horror masterpiece, Alien.

I'm not due to watch the movie until a double-bill tomorrow night with pal SimonUK, but see both of the first two Alien movies I shall.

I saw Aliens the first time when I was in middle school when I was at an all-day Saturday academic competition and a parent accidentally put it on a video player in a "relaxation" room.  Something like 4 dozen kids silently agreed not to tell anyone we were watching a Rated-R action/ sci-fi/ horror film so we'd all get a chance to watch an R-Rated movie on someone else's dime.  Jason was there, so I assume it was when I was in grade 6 and he in grade 8.

I loved it.  I still recall that I came home, admitted to The Admiral that I'd seen this rated-R movie that he would totally dig, and we went and rented it, and, indeed, we all dug it together.  I then recorded the film off HBO, and proceeded to watch it a grand total of 32 times in one calendar year.  I could quote it line for line.

Weirdly, I wasn't that interested in Alien.  I finally watched Alien in 8th or 9th grade, and I liked it.  A lot.  But I wasn't much of a horror film guy, and the horror overtones never grabbed me in quite the same way that Ripley v. Alien Queen had captured my young mind.

Kind of an odd thing, in retrospect, that I never thought twice about our lead as a woman the same age as many-a-teacher or mom, who wasn't asked to do the Sybil Danning bit, but was exactly what she was supposed to be.  A competent do-er, the person with a head on her shoulders when the shiznit hit the fan.  And for a long time, when the question would come up "why aren't there more women in action roles" it wasn't that we'd point to Sigourney Weaver as proof that there were, but proof that "yeah, I dunno.  Sigourney Weaver is an exemplar of what an audience finds perfectly reasonable in a movie.  More of that, I think."

But, man, those Giger visuals, the pounding score, the phenomenally envisioned sets...  it's a hell of a movie.  A little startling when you go and watch Them! and realize Cameron more or less ripped off a lot of that movie for his picture, but both still work. Especially when you get that last, unexpected battle with the loader and Alien Queen.

That's the stuff, right there.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Sci-Fi Watch: Midnight Special (2016)

Well, you can't knock his reading material selection

The Alamo Drafthouse was really pushing Midnight Special (2016), and so I saw the trailers a few times over the past couple of months.  In general, they at least piqued my curiosity, and in a weekend when I wanted to get out of the house and I was opting out of superherodom, I decided to give this one a whirl.  A college pal I've mostly lost touch with did the score for this movie, so I had all the more incentive to see this one, I guess.

The movie is uncomplicated, and were it not for a few heart-stopping moments, I'd say it was completely safe as family fare.  But, really, I'd advise for kids 13 and up.  What violence does occur is handled with something like the shock of reality ( I assume.  I don't get wrapped up in gun-play as often as you think an IT manager would.), which works very, very well in the movie, but not something for the wee ones.

The movie begins in-media-res, Alton Meyer is the subject of Amber Alerts across Texas, local news stations are putting up pictures of his birth father, Roy (Michael Shannon), as the abductor.  We learn that Meyer was the adopted son of a charismatic preacher (Sam Shepard) in a small commune/ cult of religious fundamentalists - based on the very real folks you see sometimes coming into town in Austin in their colorful dresses out of the 19th Century (and sometimes bonnets).*  They aren't anti-technology, but they certainly keep to themselves.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Before Comics Were Cool - The Gen-X Recollection Project: My Brother! Jason S.

Well, well, well.

My brother, Jason "Steanso" Steans has decided to show up and get his two-cents in before I have a chance to set the record properly.

There's no doubt that having an older brother was an advantage in getting introduced to things a couple of years before others of my peers and friends.  Jason's almost exactly two years older than me, so we were in the same school sometimes, and close enough in age that we shared interests and did a lot of things together, even if I was on the losing end of any brotherly fist-fights over the years.

When it came to sci-fi, in particular, while growing up, we were often of one mind on what we liked.  We usually had to jointly agree on what movie we were renting until some time in high school, so we had moments like the time we decided to just spend the summer watching James Bond movies.  But he also was the person who told me to check out Evil Dead, brought home a lot of sci-fi classics from the video store, and, as he'll mention, was key in my transport to the comic shoppe once he had a driver's license.

He got into some things I didn't care about, and I was always more of a comics devotee than him.  And he's always been more willing to try on sci-fi TV shows than myself.  But to this day we compare notes on movies and TV, even if we're watching them on separate sofas in our respective homes.

He'll never mention it, but in high school he won a state-wide award for his short story, Death of a Netrunner, his, ahem, homage to the Cyberpunk works of Bruce Sterling, et al.

Here he is.  My brother and nephew, two of my favorite people.

Master Blaster

Your name:  Jason Steans
Your current occupation:  Mental Health Prosecutor- Travis County Attorney’s Office
Your current place of residence:  Austin
Your current personal family status:  Married with one child

What was ground zero for you getting into comics/ science-fiction/ fantasy? About what year was that? Do you remember what was going on in your life?

I don’t honestly remember a time without comic book characters in it. I remember watching the old Batman TV show in syndication when I was like 4 or 5. I remember running around in a Superman Cape while Ryan wore his Batman cape (yes- he used to favor Batman!). I got story books of each of the Star Wars movies and read them so that I already knew the plots when the movies came out. I remember playing Dungeons and Dragons (but probably not getting the rules quite right) in the third or fourth grade. Some of my first driving experiences were to take my brother and one of my friends to comic book shops and comic conventions.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Before Comics Were Cool - Gen-X Recollection Project: Peter from Denmark!

Hey, everyone!  When I sent out the call for your recollections, I didn't expect the second response to appear in my inbox to come from someone I hadn't previously met, let alone someone from the fair land of Denmark!  That's pretty exciting, in my book.  And, to today's contributor, I can only say:  Jeg vil gerne hav en kop kaffe.*

We're collecting the stories of folks born before 1982 or so who grew up on comics, sci-fi and fantasy - back when that was maybe not the coolest thing to do.  There are a lot of different stories out there that defy the stereotypes and show what life was like before the internet and social media - and we want to hear them.

If you'd like to also participate in this grand experiment, please visit the info page we've put together.

Without further ado, here's our first surprise contributor:  Peter from Copenhagen!

My name is Peter Ravn Rasmussen. I'm an historian, mainly working as a teacher. I live in Copenhagen, Denmark, with my three sons. I am divorced.

I was born in 1965, the child of two people who came from working-class families. By the time I was a small child, my father had managed (despite very little education) to rise quite high in the ranks of one of the world's largest shipping companies, so I grew up in a fairly affluent home. But my parents were not academically inclined, and they were not habitual readers. To a certain extent, this meant that I was a "cuckoo in the nest" -- because I learned to read at a very early age (just before I turned 3). My earliest reading material was Donald Duck comics and, later, Tintin. By the time I was of school age, I was already reading voraciously and at very high speed, which caused some friction with my classmates (some of whom were just beginning to read).

In 1973, my father was asked to relocate to Hong Kong, and (after conferring with us all) accepted. I learned English in short order, and this must have happened at a favourable time, for English became functionally my second native language. It was while I was in Hong Kong that my interest in science fiction and fantasy, and comics (and all the other trappings of geekery) first began to grow. I watched classic 1950s and 1960s sci-fi movies on TV, I read superhero comics, and I came across some of the first science fiction books that I can remember reading. In particular, I remember reading many of Heinlein's juveniles, including "Farmer of Ganymede" and "Tunnel in the Sky", in this period. After a few years, we relocated again, this time to Singapore -- and I continued my exposure to these interests. I watched "Star Trek" (both the original series and the animated series), and I remember buying many of the Star Trek-themed Meco 8-inch dolls (this was before the term "action figure" had become common) to play with.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Mars Re-Watch: The Martian (2015)

Last year we read Andy Weir's novel, The Martian, and watched the movie starring Matt Damon.  So, we're well covered in writing about both movie and book.

I am happy to say that the movie still holds up, and, with many more months separated between book and movie, the details that were different didn't bother me as much.  If anything, I'm still confused with the casting of Mackenzie Davis as someone I think we all believed to be Korean-American, and with the benefit of the extras on the BluRay, it's very clear that they cut a lot around Kristen Wiig, who seemed weirdly cast in the movie (she just didn't have much to do).

I'm a little frustrated in my personal life that there is still no model of the Hermes, the amazing spacecraft transporting the crew between Earth and Mars, for me to buy online.  What up with that, licensing people?

This would look great on my bookshelf.
 This may seem a little demanding, but have you seen all the BS you can buy from the Previews catalog?  Want a My Little Pony tea-cup warmer?  No problem.  Star wars kitten mittens?  Got it.  Talking Knight Rider KITT sleeper bed?  Sure, why not?

So, yeah, give me my damn Hermes model.

Monday, January 25, 2016

X-Files is Back For Some Reason!

Look, I'm not made of stone.  I started tuning into The X-Files in 1993 when it was schedule adjacent to the short lived series The Adventures of Brisco County Jr. (a show canceled way, way too soon).   And, yeah, I dug that shortish FBI agent and her skeptical ways and off-the-rack pantsuits.

I was also into aliens and real-life UFO conspiracy stuff at the time.  Skeptical, but this was an era before YouTube or 10,000 cable channels - a state of things that meant, eventually, this dude got a platform on the @#$%ing History Channel

But, again, in 1993, access to those videos you'd see written about in books and articles were hard to come by, so why not at least entertain the notion?

And, again, Special Agent Dr. Dana Scully in sensible shoes.

In short, The X-Files was the first TV show I ever watched first run in prime time with any dedication, at least as an adult.  Otherwise, I guess you could say I'd had strong feelings about The Dukes of Hazzard when I was 6.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Bowie Watch: The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976)

I had not previously seen The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976).  Something about the description on the back of the VHS box I used to consider made me pretty sure I knew what this movie was going to be, and...  I was about half-right.  It's an innocent-comes-to-earth-and-reveals-we're-kind-of-lousy-because-of-how-we-treat-him movie.  There's less in the way of sexual misadventures for our alien than I was expecting.  And a huge lack of actual David Bowie music, which I just wrongly assumed would score the movie.

Honestly, this wasn't really my cup of tea.  Not terrible, but I feel like I've seen this story done before and with both more narrative economy and with more focus.  Bowie himself is actually pretty good.  I'm just not sure this movie was as good as it thinks it is.  But it's also a product of it's time, and it's a necessary stepping stone that pushed sci-fi a bit further in cinema.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Future-Noir Watch: Blade Runner (1982)

I'm now old enough that the dates casually thrown around in the sci-fi of my youth are starting to show up on my wall-calendar at work.  Already we've passed the dates of Back to The Future 2, and - as was impossible to avoid online yesterday - the inception date of Roy Batty, the antagonist (I refuse to call him a villain) of the famed Ridley Scott sci-fi noir android movie, Blade Runner (1982).   While January 8th, 2016 is a few years prior to the events of the movie, it's also impossible not to note that in 1982, the idea that we'd have off-world colonies for the wealthy and healthy looking to get away from this back-water rock of a planet didn't seem that far-off.  Or that genetic engineering would advance to a degree that we'd be on a Nexus 6 version of artificial life-forms.

We do have some pretty good videogame systems, Google can find stuff for your computer and we can take pictures with our pocket computers, so I'm calling it a wash, technology-wise.

I was about thirteen the first time I saw Blade Runner.  I was aware of the movie prior to this time, and, rightfully so, it was considered a bit adult for me to check out and I self-selected against renting it until then.  Frankly, I wasn't expecting much, more of a Tom Selleck in Runaway or even a RoboCop sort of "we've sorta dressed up the present, put weird ties on people and called it the future" sort of movie.  And there's nothing wrong with that, but, much like Star Wars, part of what makes the thing greater than the sum of its parts is the fully immersive experience.  From retro-fitted buildings to flying cars sensibly limited to police prowlers, to overpopulated streets, class-based fashion and architecture, and the monolithic structures - the soaring hubris of progress and wealth.  All of it alien, all of it recognizable.  That was the work of the artists working on movies in this era, the Syd Meads, David Snyder, Lawrence Paull, Michael Kaplan and just countless others.

And don't forget that score by Vangelis.